Finding a Career in Community Health
What makes Coast Mental Health a 2022 B.C. Top Employer recipient? We believe in our employees’ abilities to serve people in need. We see the potential in our workforce and strive to support them in developing their careers in specialized mental health services.
Austin Edwards is a program coordinator and supervisor at Coast Mental Health, supporting four facilities located in Maple Ridge and Richmond.
“There are lots of policies that our staff need to understand as part of being a mental health worker,” says Austin.
In this supervisory role, Austin has an important function in providing quality control checks to support frontline workers. These quality controls ensure staff have hands-on expertise and resources to safely support a client that may be in distress.
Prior to joining Coast, Austin never contemplated having a job in community health, moreover, he never considered that it would provide a career path.
“I really enjoy my job,” says Austin. “[The role has] developed me personally, which I appreciate.”
Before working at Coast, Austin was doing a job he disliked— box cutting for a grocery store.
“I hated that job. It was the most repetitive, mind-numbing thing ever.”
Then Austin joined Coast Mental Health; Working the front desk at a facility in Maple Ridge. Three years later, Austin gained the necessary skills and experience to supervise other staff members. Often these were new recruits who required assistance with learning policies and processes at a specific site.
Austin Edwards, program coordinator at Maple Ridge Modulars, Royal Crescent Avenue.
“When I started at Coast, I didn’t have a lot of work experience, especially not in mental health. Luckily, I worked with some pretty experienced staff members who eased me slowly into the duties required to support people in our care.”
Austin is grateful that Coast encourages internal staff promotions. With on-the-job training and the specialized knowledge of senior staff members, Austin now has a long-term career in community health to look forward to.
“There’s a lot of room to move up [at Coast] if you demonstrate you’re capable, says Austin. “Whereas in a lot of other jobs you may be competent, but you’re never rewarded for your efforts.”
Austin explains that even though he started at the front desk with very few responsibilities, it wasn’t long before staff took note of his professionalism when interacting with clients and staff. Austin was encouraged by senior members of staff to take on new challenges to develop his skillsets.
“I’m always looking for ways to advance my career at Coast,” says Austin. “When given the chance for a self-evaluation with my supervisor, I make a point of asking for more responsibilities that will support my development in this role.”
During the interview Austin emphasized that there are many other employees at Coast that work much harder than him.
“I feel very lucky to have this position, says Austin. “There are other workers that do a way better job than me and I aspire to be like them.”
Coast Mental Health is an equal opportunity employer. If you’re interested in a career in community mental health services, visit our website to learn more about Coast Mental Health.